My Child Leaving For College

Hi there. I have been completely pre-occupied these last couple of weeks for two main reasons. First, I have a client in the political space (non-partisan, non-profit). With the events of January 6th plus inauguration, it has been non-stop. I am so happy that the inauguration was held without event. I particularly loved the poet laureate, Amanda Gorman. I will be re-reading her poem for days to come.

Second…drumroll…college girl left for actual (versus online in the dining room) college. So today’s post is about my child leaving for college. I promise to be back soon with organizing and food (so much to blog about!).

Getting ready for college (me not her!)

Folks, first, I want to say that the pandemic has made this experience so different than the typical send off. Through the years, I have read Facebook posts of friends who were distraught about their child leaving for college. They counted the days. They wept. I get it. My little pumpkin with braids in her hair who was just tackling her ABCs at the kitchen table is now off to college? What? Time plays tricks on us as those moments seemed like yesterday. So, yes, I had some sadness (and wait towards the end of this post for the full details). However, honestly after watching her not have a full life all fall term due to the pandemic, well I was happy that she could finally experience college life – in all of its good and not so good, but learning moments.

Getting her room ready

I was so excited to have her pick out a color palette for her dorm room (yes as a blogger it should not be a surprise that color palettes can be part of the dorm room!). We had fun, donning our double masks and equipping ourselves with plenty of hand sanitizer, as we hit Target, Ikea and Homegoods for just the perfect mix of throws, pillows, sheet sets and accessories. I also went into full mom mode, packing a first aid kit and “dorm doctor” set of medicines just in case. We picked out the essentials – electric tea kettle, Brita filter and of course some nice clothes too. I am not sure how we fit all of it into the car, but somehow we managed (with a Thule on top of course).

A walk down memory lane

At the same time, I was full into organizing her art going back to toddlerhood (yes, I did not throw all of it out…I had an art portfolio for my favorites). Mr. SB and I had a good chuckle at some of the cards with funny sayings, misspellings and portraits of us all drawn by our little artist. A favorite was one of the Disney princesses after seeing Disney on ice. Funny how those memories come rushing back to you. So come the day to drive there, I felt like I had fully gone through a walk in time but was generally happy to see her off on her great adventure.

Get ready for water works

Then came my youngest daughter’s video, which compiled special moments from all of our home videos. As high-school girls said to her sister, “I made it for you last spring but since you did not leave, I am giving it to you now.” She put together the sweetest mix of scenes of she and college girl when they were tikes. Yup, there they were dancing together on a vacation to Mexico. Hugging each other as little girls. All dressed up for Easter, Christmas and Halloween. Oh sure, I was ready to send pumpkin off…really, I am truly happy. I promise. Just fine.

Ladies (and gentleman if I have any male readers:) I bawled my eyes out…I had to head to bed early “to read a book” so I could cry by myself. I played that darn video at least ten times until I am pretty sure I had no tears left.

A few observations about my child leaving for college

When I finally pulled myself together I realized that you know what? It was a gift. Am I still happy that my gal is all grown up and in a wonderful university where I know she will thrive? Of course. Am I so happy that she can have a full college experience. Yes! But trying to pretend that time has not passed, that my own life will not be changing dramatically (even with just one out of the nest) or that life is frankly short, is not a good way to live. Appreciating all that she has become, all of those moments that make a wonderful life and make being a mom so gratifying, is not something to sweep under the rug so to speak. No matter how painful it can be! So maybe I did not do a month’s worth of Facebook posts, or document the drop off with dozens of photos, but I had my own way of thinking about it.

At that last moment where she had to leave, I gave her a big hug. I shed a few tears which I did wipe away quickly and drove off. My little girl flapped her wings and flew pandemic restrictions and all. Mom could not be prouder.

Did I text her a few hours later? You bet I did!